It is easy to think influencers are one in the same — millennials who like the finer things in life with an agenda to make viewers envious of their opulence. Violet Benson, better known by her handle Daddy Issues, breaks the mold through content that says, “you can sit with us,” she told Life & Style exclusively. By posting relatable memes, the proud immigrant, 31, found her confidence in a virtual world infamous for provoking insecurity.

“Daddy Issues literally helped me get out of depression,” the Russian born personality told Life & Style. Violet, who previously worked as an accountant, explained how she struggled to love herself from a young age, mainly because of her appearance.

Hector Perez

In a classic tale from duckling to swan, Violet was over being judged for her cover and not for her brains and wit. “I didn’t want anyone to focus on my looks, period. Because I feel like growing up there was always something to my looks, whether I was too ugly or too cute.” In an effort to express herself without being critiqued, her meme account was born.

“At that point in my life, I felt so lost. I had no idea who I was,” she said, explaining her need for a breath of fresh air, like many of us in our 20s. “Posting memes was more for my insecurity, so I was posting things that I thought that no one else could understand.” To Violet’s surprise, she wasn’t the only one who saw themselves in Grumpy Cat.

“It was kind of cool to see other people tagging their best friend and [commenting], ‘Oh my God, that’s so us.’ and I would [think], ‘Oh, s–t, OK, so I’m not alone in this,’ and Daddy Issues slowly helped me build my self-esteem back and it slowly helped me see that I’m not alone in how I feel about myself. It just made me feel OK about myself,” she said, adding, “I feel like my followers saved me before I was able to save them with my jokes or making them feel OK.”

“It was never meant to be a business,” Violet continued. “It was literally just me feeling OK again.” Violet said Daddy Issues gave her a reason to wake up every day: “I can focus on my Instagram.”